Action Park, sometimes called the most dangerous theme park in America, was a class action suit waiting to happen -- and that's the premise of a documentary coming next week to HBO Max. The streamer just dropped a new trailer for the project on YouTube, and you can check it out above. In Class Action Park, filmmakers will take a look at the New Jersey theme park best known for its risky attractions. Besides "Class Action Park," locals had been known to call it "Traction Park" and "Accident Park" during its heyday. Open from 1978 until 1996 under the "Action Park" name, it has since been renamed Mountain Creek Water Park, and reopened under new (and safer) ownership.
A revolutionary theme park and one of the biggest water parks in the country at the time, Action Park saw frequent injuries in water and on land. Part of its appeal -- the idea that guests were largely free of regulation and could "control their own fate" -- was a big part of what made them so dangerous.
In spite of its bad reputation, Action park has a cult following to this day, with fans that swear by it and a nostalgic fascination with it that has given birth not just to the documentary but also to a book and an upcoming TV series.
You can see a short documentary, by the always-fascinating Defunctland YouTube chanel, below.
Action Park was designed, basically, by people who weren't necessarily engineers and who were trying to save money and appealing to thrill-seekers. The best example of this is the Cannonball Loop, a water slide that incorporated an incredibly steep fall and then a roller coaster-style loop -- something that created a huge number of minor injuries over the years, and sometimes stranded riders who didn't make it all the way around the loop.
Besides the risks inherent to such a park, Action Park was often understaffed, sold alcohol that would find its way into the hands of local teens, and failed to provide translators for the Spanish speaking population taht they actively courted in advertising.
So, as Defunctland put it, "The majority of those employees were teenagers, and were not equipped to handle the rowdy guests at the park. So on any given day, you could have an overcrowded park filled with drunk teenagers that couldn't swim, riding shoddily built attractions supervised by teenagers who may or may not be able to communicate with them."